CRM systems have been a staple tech for sales teams across the globe for years. In 2020, 74% of teams use a CRM system. That's nearly a 20% increase from last year. Despite that, a shocking statistic from Meta Group found that 55-75% of CRM implementations fail. This is a costly issue for any business that could realistically be avoided by taking a more considered, strategic approach.
So, how do you give yourself the best chance of implementing a new system successfully?
Start by reading these five invaluable tips to get your CRM project out of the blocks…
1. Get senior buy-in
This warrants executive-level priority. It adds momentum and reflects the significance of the investment. No matter the size of the organisation, if the executive team is seen to disregard and deprioritise the project, the rest of the organisation will follow. Get buy-in early on across all levels of the business, setting the tone and cadence for better engagement.
2. Collaborate and nail down rejections quickly
This leads us nicely on from point 1. Teams are more likely to engage if they're involved. Feeling part of the process will motivate your team to take interested in the project. Collaboration is essential here - you might think you know all the requirements, but if you aren't using the system daily, involve the people that will.
It's worth mentioning that your team should be part of the procurement process. It's useful, you'll quickly uncover user issues and see who's likely to reject adoption of your prized investment. Address these problems head-on; otherwise, they'll rear their ugly heads again later down the line. It'll be more costly to unpick later.
3. Find an excellent Project Manager
You've got enough on your plate - managing a team with hefty targets and a pipeline as long as your arm. One of the most influential people in this process is your project consultant. There are many necessary steps involved in implementing a CRM system. Cutting corners or hoping for the best will devalue your system from the get-go. You'll sleep easier knowing that the crucial details are being handled and that project timelines are being hit. The person doesn't have to be a team member, invest in this position and you won't regret it.
4. Take time to outline your usage guidelines
It could be argued that new habits are tough to instil into a team of sales professionals. But give yourself the best chance. List down the minimum requirements, and ALL agree that everyone is accountable. Remember who you're dealing with here. Don't write stacks of do's and don'ts - it's likely they won't read them - I mean, would you? This is the time to stress the benefits of what you're asking them to do. If you can't think of any: then why are you doing it?
Consider staging user requirements. Your CRM becomes more powerful and thus more valuable the more you use it, so start small and enable a basic level of usability to start. And remember; less stick and more carrot.
5. Back up before you move forward
If you've already got a stack of quality data from a past system that you need to transfer, cradle it like your firstborn.
Your data is a critical factor in implementing a functional CRM system. Lose it, and you'll be starting from scratch. Back up, Back up, Back up. Hard copies, soft copies, external drives, on your cloud - everything. Most providers are pretty smart with uploading your data. Structure it correctly, and it'll take no time to novate. While you're there, this is an excellent time to tidy up. Update or cleanse useless data. This might take a while, but the benefits will pay back tenfold. Establish a strict list of criteria that determine what quality data looks like. Anything that misses the mark – delete or archive.
There are your five tips. If you're hoping to purchase a new CRM system, take time to consider the implementation - it's usually the hardest bit. Remember:
Start with your senior buy-in; make sure you have the support of C-Suite leaders. If you don't, no one is interested.
Collaboration with your team and everyone will feel like they're having a say. They'll be more motivated to use a system they supported, and you'll uncover any objections early on.
Management of the process is fundamental; invest in a project consultant you can trust and sleep easy knowing you'll have a CRM system up and running in no time.
To stand the highest chance of feeding the system with quality data, introduce user functions bit by bit. It'll promote the creation of an intelligent, comprehensive system that's used.
Finally, before you hit the go button, back up before you move any further forward! While you're there, have a tidy up too!
What do you think? Did we miss any?
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